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Reduction in hours of operation likely at Kendall Post Office
Changes the United States Postal Service has in store for the Kendall Post Office are causing concern and consternation for many residents.
An informational meeting regarding the changes was held Thursday, July 31 at the Kendall Town Hall and several dozen residents were in attendance including Supervisor Tony Cammarata and Postmistress Ann Piazza.
Ron Coon, a local operations manager for the USPS, discussed results of a survey of residents regarding re-alignment of window hours. He told residents the decision has pretty-much been made to re-align window service hours under the current POST Plan to Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. with lunch from 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Saturday hours will remain 10 a.m. – 12 noon.
Coon said the USPS would take information gathered at the meeting into consideration before making a final decision which was expected by Friday, August 8.
When it became clear during the question and answer session of the meeting that the postmaster’s position would be cut to part time, many in attendance expressed dismay.
Postmistress Ann Piazza explained that because of her civil service full-time position, she will not be able to continue in her job on a part-time basis.
“My job will be gone,” Piazza said. “These people are my family,” she said of Kendall residents, “but I can’t stay on reduced hours.”
Residents and Piazza noted revenues at the Kendall Post Office are up 27 percent, but Coon countered that doesn’t mean the workload has increased.
“It’s not the revenue,” he said, which determines window/postmaster hours, “it’s the workload in the office.”
Those in the audience were skeptical about the decision and how it was made.
Supervisor Cammarata asked what the town could do to retain Piazza full-time.
“What can we do as a community so we can keep Ann?” he asked, and questioned if her responsibilities could be increased.
“We are thankful and appreciative of her efforts,” Supervisor Cammarata continued. “We don’t want her hours reduced. We will write letters as supervisor and town board members. She is the lifeblood of Kendall.”
Coon said he cannot save Ann’s job, which will likely be eliminated no laterthan January 2015.
“I can help her go somewhere else,” he said. “I will do what I can for Ann.”
Coon said the Post Office has seen retail visits across the country drop by 27 percent since 2005. At first, post offices were being closed to cut costs, but according to Coon, Congress decided not to continue that policy or to eliminate Saturday delivery, leaving cutbacks in window hours and cutting full-time postmaster positions as the way to save money.
“We have reduced hours, Congress is opposed to overall closure (of post offices),” Coon said. “They want to retain zip codes and overall community identity.”
The POST Plan policy means small nearby post offices like the one in the hamlet of Morton remain open with window hours limited to two each day, while the postmaster position in Kendall is cut to part-time.
Lora Partyka of Partyka Farms in Kendall told Coon, “If I ran my business the way this is done, I would not be in business.”
Shipping is critical to Partyka Farms, she said, and noted Piazza’s help has been vital in accommodating the needs of Partyka’s long-distance clients.
“(Ann) has helped so much,” she said.
Another frustrated resident commented, “We were hoping to be able to discuss this, (now it appears) we can do nothing.The decision has been made. We have no say.”
Cammarata told Coon town leaders would be talking to their congressman and senators regarding the changes.